Jewish Journal

Anti-Semitic airplane suicide crashes?

by Brad A. Greenberg

February 18, 2010 | 6:53 pm


I never expected I’d have occasion for that headline. But the suicide note that Joe Stack left before allegedly crashing a small plane into an Austin, Texas, IRS building gives just that occasion. Check out his farewell paragraph:

I saw it written once that the definition of insanity is repeating the same process over and over and expecting the outcome to suddenly be different. I am finally ready to stop this insanity. Well, Mr. Big Brother IRS man, let’s try something different; take my pound of flesh and sleep well.

Well, that last line is a reference to the infamous debt owed Shylock in “Merchant of Venice.” And Shylock, of course, is one of the ugliest depictions of the stereotypical money-grubbing Jew in history. Did Stack know? Was his kamikaze mission fueled by anti-Semitism? I doubt it. Or as Tablet said:

It’s impossible, in other words, to know at this point whether Stack’s action or at least beliefs (which certainly had to do with money and the grubbing thereof) were at all motivated by anti-Semitism. Stack certainly wouldn’t be the first violent lunatic to harbor such beliefs, though.

Unlike James Von Brunn, who clearly was motivated by anti-Semitism, Stack left no apparent trail of Jew-hating ramblings. Maybe he was just a learned man who lost it.

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